Friday, December 03, 2004

Do I belong here?

I was talking to my wife last night and came to a realization, maybe something I already knew. I am way too stressed out. I am burned out and quite unhappy working here. Youth ministry is a way afterthought of this church: we don't have any young people here -- let's make a youth minister get them here, pull a bait-and-switch on them, and maybe they'll stick with it.

By bait-and-switch, I mean, have meaningful spiritual times and lots of fun and games. Sing songs that mean something to them. Then expect them to stick around for "adult" worship which is boring, irrelevant, and doesn't mean much to them at all. At least our new pastor preaches well (though awfully long)! And there are few meaningful spiritual opportunities for them as well. And nothing at all for anyone 18-25.


My wife was asking me, "Is this something you want to do for the rest of your life?" I responded that I don't know what else I would do. I don't imagine myself being happy doing something else out of ministry. But I am certainly not happy now. I am tired, frustrated, burned out, grumpy, jaded, cynical, and generally stressed out. But what I wrestle with is "Am I supposed to be happy?" I was told to "take up my cross" and that doesn't sound like "happiness" to me. I was told to "deny myself" and that doesn't sound like happiness to me.

If I wasn't here (at Stonybrook), I'd miss some people. I have made some friends over the past 3 1/2 years. I'd miss the band (though I don't get to play with them regularly these days). Maybe the band is one reason I'm down; it was one of my releases, and now I don't get to participate.

Yesterday I got to hang out with a really good friend -- my wife, in talking about the time we spent together (Oct. 2003-May 2004) said, "That was a good year." I responded that it was an oasis in a tough year. That was about it.

And that's what Utherica is: an oasis. Here I can pretend I'm relaxing at Pedro's. Here I can pretend I'm chasing hyenas through the woods. Here I can pretend I'm sitting around a roaring "Bonfire Thursday" fire with a crazy group of friends. Meanwhile, I'm just sitting in front of a computer, overwhelmed by the job.

Thanks for letting me vent.

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